Make us your home page
Instagram

Job growth, unemployment rate rise as workers re-enter labor force

WASHINGTON — The United States added a solid 171,000 jobs in October, and more than a half-million Americans joined the work force, the latest signs that the uneven economic recovery is gaining strength once again.

In addition, more jobs were added in August and September than thought. But the unemployment rate inched up to 7.9 percent because not all those joining the work force found work, the government said Friday.

The report was the final snapshot of the economy before the presidential election.

"The economy is in a lot better shape than most people believe," said Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors. "That sets us up for stronger growth next year no matter who is elected on Tuesday."

A government survey of households found that 578,000 Americans joined the work force in October, the Labor Department said. Of those, 470,000 found work. The difference is why the unemployment rate rose from 7.8 percent in September.

Home prices are finally rising, and retailers and car companies this week reported stronger sales. Consumer confidence in October reached its highest point in almost five years, and stocks are within reach of record highs.

Big businesses are still cautious, partly because of slowing global demand for their goods. But the report found that they added jobs in greater numbers than they did last spring.

A second government survey, of large companies and government agencies, yielded the 171,000 number. Companies added 184,000 jobs, the most since February, and federal, state and local governments cut 13,000.

The report was compiled before Superstorm Sandy struck the East Coast earlier this week and devastated many businesses. Some economists think the rebuilding in the Northeast will add to construction jobs in the months ahead.

The government also revised its data to show that 84,000 more jobs were added in August and September than previously estimated. August's job gain was revised to 192,000 from 142,000, and September's to 148,000 from 114,000.

For the third time since the recovery from the Great Recession began in June 2009, the economy appears to be picking up momentum.

Since July, the economy has created an average of 173,000 jobs a month. That is up from an average of 67,000 a month from April through June.

The pickup in hiring suggests that businesses aren't as worried as many analysts thought about the package of tax increases and spending cuts known as the "fiscal cliff" that will take effect unless Congress acts by Jan. 1.

Companies have cut back spending on computers, industrial machinery and other heavy equipment in recent months. That was seen by many economists as a sign of concern about the cliff and Europe's economic deterioration.

But better consumer demand may be encouraging employers to hire anyway. James Marple, an economist at TD Bank, said hiring could take off next year if the fiscal cliff is avoided.

"The fact that businesses are continuing to expand even with huge fiscal uncertainty means that once this cloud lifts, the pace of job creation has lots of room to accelerate," he said.

Politically, the report gave both President Barack Obama and his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, ammunition in the fading days of the campaign.

It allowed Obama to argue that the economy has added jobs for 25 consecutive months, since September 2010, and that the private sector has added jobs for 32 consecutive months, since February 2010.

The report allowed the Romney campaign, however, to argue that the unemployment rate will be higher on Election Day than it was on Inauguration Day in January 2009, when it was 7.8 percent.

.FAST FACTS

October

by the numbers

. Professional and business services, up 51,000

. Retail, up 36,400

. Health care, up 31,000

. Leisure and hospitality, up 28,000

. Construction, up 17,000

. Government jobs,

down 13,000

Source: Bureau

of Labor Statistics

Job growth, unemployment rate rise as workers re-enter labor force 11/02/12 [Last modified: Friday, November 2, 2012 10:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Washington Post.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus

    Retail

    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.
[SCOTT KEELER  |  TIMES]

  3. Boho Hunter will target fashions in Hyde Park

    Business

    Boho Hunter, a boutique based in Miami's Wynwood District, will expand into Tampa with its very first franchise.

    Palma Canaria bags will be among the featured items at Boho Hunter when it opens in October. Photo courtesy of Boho Hunter.
  4. Gallery now bringing useful art to Hyde Park customers

    Business

    HYDE PARK — In 1998, Mike and Sue Shapiro opened a gallery in St. Petersburg along Central Ave., with a majority of the space dedicated to Sue's clay studio.

     As Sue Shapiro continued to work on her pottery in St. Petersburg, her retail space grew and her studio shrunk. Now Shapiro's is bringing wares like these to Hyde Park Village. Photo courtesy of Shapiro's.
  5. Appointments at Raymond James Bank and Saint Leo University highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers

    Business

    Banking

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Jackson will oversee all of Raymond James Bank's operational business elements, risk management and strategic planning functions. Kackson joins Raymond James Bank after senior …

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. [Company handout]